Published on July 12th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan


The Future Is Now! (My Renewable Cities Opening Night Prez)

July 12th, 2015 by  

The future is now.

That’s a phrase I love on so many levels. I’ve got another presentation in my repertoire more tailored to that phrase, but for my PechaKucha presentation on the opening night of the Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum, I realized at the last minute (or maybe a little sooner) that “the future is now” was again more or less the focus of my presentation, so that’s the opening line I led with. Have a watch:

These PechaKucha presentations present quite a challenge, as you are limited to 20 slides and the slides automatically transition every 20 seconds. It doesn’t leave much room for freestyling, and you really have to make sure you get the timing right. But it is a lot of fun, and it forces you to succinctly get your message across via clear and focused communication.

Of course, figuring out the slides and topic of my presentation was not too challenging. After publishing tens of thousands of articles (seriously), I’ve got a handful of key charts, facts, pictures, and objectives in my head. CleanTechnica is about advancing the cleantech revolution using inspiration, context, and an onslaught of useful information. And that’s what the presentation was about.

There are three main things we need to do to address global warming (and at the same time reduce unnecessary suffering): switch to electricity production from clean and renewable resources, switch to electric transport, and cut meat and dairy consumption. Our focus on CleanTechnica is of course #1 and #2 (jump over to EatDrinkBetter for #3). The good news is that renewable energy and electric vehicles offer many consumer advantages (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here… for a start), and they have become much, much cheaper in recent years — now beating fossil fuels and gasmobiles on a cost basis in many or even most cases.

As I highlighted in my Renewable Cities opening night presentation above, I think we are at a big tipping point for both renewables and electric vehicles — or, in other terms, the beginning of a “disruptive” takeover of their respective markets. Solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars are the future… but they are also here now, and quickly becoming popular. Watch the video above to see me talking about these matters in much more detail.

And stay tuned for coming articles about other opening night Pecha Kucha monologues and other presentations from the Renewable Cities Global Learnig Forum (easily located in our Renewable Cities archives).

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Frank

    If you look at 2015 data, you will see that electricity production went up, but electricity produced by combustion went down. Sounds like transitioning to me.

  • Adrian

    After a few weeks of driving electric, I’m looking around at the other vehicles stopped at the traffic lights, idling away, and thinking to myself “you folks have no idea what’s coming, or how fast it will hit.”

    Yes, the future is here. As author William Gibson has reputedly said, “it just isn’t evenly distributed.”

    What is frustrating is when having discussions with people about say, wind and solar, their first “yeah but” is cost. After raising examples of how they are now the cheapest utility-scale options the argument shifts to “yeah, but subsidies.” Address that and there is always another “yeah but” – usually intermittency which is always stated as “not reliable”, of course. It’s just a never-ending stack of “yeah, but”s. Ordinary people endlessly parroting the fossil industry “merchants of doubt” talking points. Frustrating.

    • “Cost” reflex: Yep, it’s a huge issue. People just don’t follow the industries, don’t realize it, and hear politicians and talking heads (even many good ones) making that claim. Why we do what we do….

      And there’s that common assumption that things are how they are because that’s the best option. People are often pretty bad at seeing evolution in action, and better opportunities before they are mainstream.

      EVs: yeah, seriously, this seems even more inevitable than a renewable energy future to me. like rolling iPhones & other smartphones ready to kick flip phones off their pedestal.

  • Doug

    Great presentation!

  • Very nice presentation. Good job Zach!

  • Scott Cooney

    I’ve never before been so blessed by a ray of light as this man shines on the world every day. Not only that, he’s a practical SOB too, who talks sense that even hard core dumbasses can understand, appreciate, and adopt. Hard to argue with someone who points out the obvious but does it in a way that resonates even with haters. Good on ya, Zachary. Happy to help support and promote you any way I can.

    • That is a HUGELY appreciate comment, man. Gave me chills. Hugely appreciate it. 😀

  • Scott Cooney

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Zach Shahan for president. 🙂

    • mike_dyke

      Australia? They could do with a new one 🙂

  • Alharbi

    Great job Zach.
    I know there were so many good things happening in the renewable world that you wished you have the time to talk about. But, hey.. your prioritization process is so efficient 🙂

    • Alharbi

      And effective..

    • Thanks, man. Yes, sooooo many things to highlight. Probably good I was limited to 6 minutes and 40 seconds. 😀

  • AWESOME!!! 😀

  • eveee

    Zach – Thanks for spreading the word. The renewables revolution is now. Its important to let people know whats going on and give encouragement. Thats leadership.

    Its happening now, baby!

    all along the eastern shore

    put your circuits in the sea

    this is what the world is for

    making electricity

    you can feel it in your mind

    you can do it all the time

    plug it in and change the world

    • Ha, I was listening to that song a lot recently. Meant to stick it in an article. 😀

      And thanks!

  • Ivor O’Connor

    Good talk Zach! I like how you concentrated on price. Stressing RE is the most economical way to go and pounding that message in is key to an even faster adoption!

    • Thanks. Yes, doing whatever I can to speed up the revolution. And was thinking today of a piece “Top 3 Barriers To A Quicker Cleantech Victory Party.” Think I need to put it on the list, but as you might know by now, I think lack of awareness is one of them. 😀

  • momo

    Oh, look: video appearances from Mr. CleanTechnica himself! Zach Shahan everybody!

  • JamesWimberley

    Zach is spot on about the priorities. Just to say that there is an important distinction between 1 and 2. Solar and wind energy needed subsidies to reach price parity, but they have now achieved this. The battle in public policy has shifted to maintaining a favourable regulatory environment: permitting, net metering, renewable energy standards, TOD pricing, and many others.

    EVs are still relatively expensive (with the possible exception of electric buses) and need subsidies to move them along the learning curve. Fortunately they are in a much stronger position to maintain these than the infant solar and wind industries. The carmakers, almost all based in rich OECD countries, are either committed or hedged, and will not campaign against the transition; and the powerful electric utilities will support it. Significantly, the oil industry has so far been unable to mount any anti-ev campaign, let alone an effective one. Maybe they are just stupid and don’t take the threat seriously. If they wait, it will be too late.

    Don’t forget efficiency. The IOT, cheap processing and smart controls will revolutionise the way buildings and transport say are run. Imagine Siri as your home energy management butler.

  • Bob_Wallace

    “After publishing tens of thousands of articles”

    Unsung hero. (seriously)

    • Meh, there’s a lot of great singing here, and some other places, in support 😀 I feel super lucky. 😀

  • Martin

    Anyway to get all those people still living in the past, FF is king, to face up to the facts and get out of the way? (legally that is)?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Keep talking about the external costs of fossil fuels. About how much pollution is harming them, their families, those they care about, and other. And, especially, about how much we spend each year in tax dollars and health insurance premiums.

      Keep talking about how inexpensive wind and solar have become. How cheap it is to drive an EV.

      Probably talk mostly about money. The money they personally are now spending to support fossil fuels.

      • Frank

        Just adding a third of those costs to coal fired juice would take us from the war on coal, to the summary execusion of coal. 500 billion sickening subsidy. Ugh.

      • What Bob said.

        • Peter Waegemans

          Seriously. You guys.
          I used to have a hard time convincing people of the benefits of green technology. Until I found cleantechnica. Simply echoing your hard work I see lots of eyes going wide open . Makes me feel kind of optimistic actually . This blog feels like the good news show to me. Always happy to return 🙂

          • That’s awesome to hear! Gave me chills. Hugely appreciate it.

          • Great talk Zach. This is why I read all the articles here every morning before my day starts. It gives me energy for the day to continue the fight against fossil fuels.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      My solution is to casually bring things up as obvious fact the stupid don’t get. That prevents them from arguing and plants the seeds of curiosity. The secret is acting like it is something you don’t care about that you thought the world already knew about. And it is always about the money!

  • Will E

    Zachary, thanx for the Video, you always make me kind of happy, happy, happy.

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